Speakers & Presenters
Learn from this year’s line-up of innovative and dynamic leaders, bringing lessons on leading ministry in the 21st Century and how to maximize your leadership impact
Adam is the founding pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. The church began in 1990 with four people and a dream of creating a congregation where thinking people – non-religious and nominally religious people – would become committed followers of Jesus Christ. In the years since, the church has become the largest United Methodist Church with over 20,000 members and an average weekend worship attendance of 10,000. Adam is the author of over 25 books including Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times and Making Sense of the Bible. He has been married to LaVon since 1982. They have two daughters and one granddaughter.
Blake Bradford is a mission strategist and district superintendent in the Arkansas Conference, and he is co-author of the book, IMPACT! Rediscovering the Call of Lay Ministry with Kay Kotan. He is passionate about building lay-clergy teams to equip disciples of Jesus Christ who make disciples. Dr. Bradford has pastored churches of different sizes and contexts, and has served the conference’s Center for Vitality as a congregational coach, consultant, and director of the ordination program. He and his wife Kerri, a museum educator, have two teenage children. Blake also holds a second-degree black belt, which he believes has been his best training for ministry!
Sean Bublitz is a ministry consultant at The Unstuck Group. For more than 12 years, Sean has served in various roles in weekend services, arts and senior leadership at Community Christian Church (Naperville, IL) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He has a passion for creativity, problem solving, and quelling the status quo. He and his wife Jill live in Granger, Indiana, with their 5 kids.
Ginger Gaines-Cirelli is the Senior Pastor at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. She previously served as pastor at two other beltway area United Methodist Churches, St. Matthew’s and Capitol Hill. She earned a M.Div. at Yale Divinity School and was a Princeton Theological Fellow. She served as a general editor for the CEB Women’s Bible.
Yvonne Gentile serves as Senior Director of Guest Connections, giving leadership and oversight to Resurrection’s ministries of hospitality and connection. She co-authored three books: Serving from the Heart: Finding Your Gifts and Talents for Service, Leadership from the Heart: Learning to Lead with Love & Skill, and Leadership Essentials: Practical Tools for Leading in the Church, all published by Abingdon Press. Yvonne and her husband Frank have been part of Resurrection since 1996. Together they enjoy movies, road trips, and spending time with family.
The Rev. Dr. James A. Harnish retired after 43 years of pastoral ministry in the Florida Annual Conference. He was the founding pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando and served for 22 years as the Senior Pastor of Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa. He is the author of A Disciple’s Heart: Growing in Love and Grace, Earn. Save. Give. Wesley’s Simple Rules for Money, and Make a Difference: Following Your Passion and Finding Your Place to Serve. He was a consulting editor for The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible and a contributor to The Wesley Study Bible. He and his wife, Martha, have two married daughters and five grandchildren in Florida and South Carolina.
Justin LaRosa is a licensed clinical social worker and Deacon who leads the new ministry of Hyde Park United Methodist Church in downtown Tampa, Florida. He served for eight years as the Minister of Discipleship, working with a team of leaders to facilitate the process of organizing, training, empowering, and supporting laypersons. Justin is co-author with James A. Harnish of A Disciple’s Path and A Disciple’s Heart.
Debi Nixon is the Executive Director of Development & ShareChurch at Church of the Resurrection. She joined the staff in 1994 as the founding children’s ministry director and has served in a variety of roles, including executive roles in adult discipleship, capital campaigns and regional campuses. Debi is passionate about the renewal of the church, leading workshops on church leadership, sharing principles of outwardly focused churches, and extending radical hospitality. She has been married to Reed since 1984, and they treasure time with their two grown children and the joy of being new grandparents. Debi is author of CATCH: A Churchwide Evangelism Program and Catch a New Life: Connect with a Church by Abingdon Press.
John Ed Mathison
Dr. John Ed Mathison retired in June 2008 after serving 36 years as senior minister of Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He then established John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries, with a focus on training pastors and lay persons to be leaders impacting the world for Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. He has been the recipient of several awards over his long career, including being selected as the National Clergyman of the Year in 1994 by The Religious Heritage of America. John Ed and his wife Lynn have 4 adult children and 10 wonderful grandchildren.
Kem Meyer spent almost three decades working with small business, big business, not for profit, tech, finance, PR, advertising, schools and churches. They all have issues with communications; for better and worse. And, learning from them all, she developed a knack for finding the simple themes that increase organizational clarity and remove barriers that get in the way of our messages. She is the author of Less Chaos. Less Noise. Effective Communication for an Effective Church. and consults with churches and organizations through partners like PlainJoe Studios, The Unstuck Group and the Center for Church Communications.
Joel Mikell is Senior Vice President and Partner at Horizons Stewardship. A gifted leader, teacher and motivational speaker on relational, holistic stewardship, Joel has helped 170+ churches raise more than $600 million since 2000. He wrote Crafting a Theology of Stewardship (and Why Your Church Needs One) and co-wrote Church Giving Matters and The Ministry of Giving, the only book of its kind to focus on ministering to financial leaders outside of a campaign.
Joe Park is the managing partner of Horizons Stewardship. While serving as the CEO of a rapidly growing multi-bank holding, Joe followed God’s leading into full-time ministry with Horizons. Today he leads a team of 36 ministry strategists and support staff who have helped local churches raise in excess of 7 billion dollars in capital funds and much more in annual giving. Joe and Horizons actively assist churches in the implementation of best practices in developing generous congregations, discipleship, and capital and annual giving campaigns.
Dr. Bob Roberts, Jr. is the founding and Senior Pastor of NorthWood Church, a multiplying church near Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX. He is a leading practitioner and writer on glocal—global and local—transformation of individuals, religious organizations, communities and global engagement. He co-founded My Neighbor’s Keeper, an inter-faith volunteer engagement organization with Imam Mohamed Magid. Bob is married to Niki and they have two children, Ben and Jill. He also has three grandchildren.
Barb Roose is a popular speaker and author who is passionate about connecting women to one another and to God, helping them apply the truths of God’s Word to the practical realities and challenges they face as women in today’s culture. She is the author of the Joshua: Winning the Worry Battle and Beautiful Already: Reclaiming God’s Perspective on Beauty Bible studies. She also writes a regular blog at BarbRoose.com and hosts the “Better Together” podcast. Barb and her husband, Matt, live in Toledo, Ohio, and are the parents of three beautiful daughters.
Bishop Robert Schnase
Robert Schnase is bishop of the Rio Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. Schnase is the author of Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, a newly-revised best-selling book on congregational ministry that has ignited a common interest among churches and their leaders around its themes of radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional faith development, risk-taking mission and service, and extravagant generosity. Robert is also the author of Cultivating Fruitfulness, The Balancing Act, Five Practices of Fruitful Living, Ambition in Ministry, and Testing and Reclaiming Your Call to Ministry.
Frank A. Thomas currently serves as Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Homiletics and Director of the Academy of Preaching and Celebration at Christian Theological Seminary of Indianapolis, Indiana.
David Thoroughman is the Co-founder and CEO of MortarStone giving analytics. MortarStone provides churches unique data insights to better connect with their givers by using discipleship driven analytics and easy-to-use customized reporting tools to advance their ministries further, faster. MortarStone has helped churches track more than 10 billion dollars in annual giving.
Doug Turner is president at Culture of Ready, a ministry partner of Horizons Stewardship. For over 25 years, Doug has helped churches experience God when least expected: during a capital campaign. Motivated by a heart for ministry, he helps churches live in the tension that is generosity. Doug has assisted churches such as Church of the Resurrection, Willow Creek Community Church and Granger Community Church raise over one billion dollars in capital campaigns.